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S/V Blue Bay
The Trip back to Marathon
03/29/2012, Marathon

Day 4 & 5
Up before the crack of dawn, we motor-sailed all the way back. The first day we made good time with the wind helping some. We caught a 26 inch cero mackerel that turned out to be the best tasting fish we have ever eaten! We grilled it that night and froze three large filets. We anchored on the lee side of Women Key, with some rolling but it settled down over night so we slept pretty well. On our last day the wind steadily picked up to over 15 knots on the nose which made it slow going and a little bouncy. We arrived back in Marathon before sunset and settled in for a long sleep after another terrific fish dinner of cero mackerel.

The Dry Tortugas National Park
03/29/2012, Marathon

Day 3
We spent only two nights and one day at the park. We would have stayed longer but we didn't like the holding in the anchorage or the weather report. As it turns out nearly all the boats left the day we did so it appeared others felt the same way.
The fort was very interesting. Construction was started in 1846 and was abandoned in 1874 unfinished. The surrounding area, a cluster of seven islands composed of coral reefs and sand make up the Dry Tortugas National Park, an area noted for birds and marine life, and shipwrecks (per park info).
For our visit we dinghied over to the fort in the morning before the ferry (with an army of 165 tourists aboard) arrived to learn a little about how things were set up. The seaplane pilot was already there with his few passengers. He said he makes five trips a day but today he was delayed because of a thunderstorm line between Key West and the Dry Tortugas, which he could not cross with the plane. The storm was moving slowly and the winds were very light so we went back to the boat where Dick dove down and cleaned the prop, which had built up some barnacles after sitting in Marathon so long. It had reduced our engine RPM. Afterwards we had lunch and dinghied out to the brick shipwreck not far from the anchorage. There we snorkeled, saw many coral and fishes, and happened to see one of the biggest lobsters we had ever seen! From there we dinghied the two miles over to Loggerhead Key to tour that beautiful little island. The lighthouse was closed to the public. We returned to Fort Jefferson around 4:30 PM and took the self-guided tour of the areas open to the public. Unfortunately, there are no longer any park provided tours. We were told we could tag along on the ferry boat tour. The fort was built so that over 400 cannons could be installed. It was designed so that any target that got into range could have as many as 125 cannons pointing at it. There were many other interesting things about the fort that made the whole trip very worth while. We have posted some of the more than 200 pictures we took in the Photo Gallery.

03/30/2012 | Nancy
Oh thanks for writing all that information. I always wondered what it would be like to go there. I looked on the iPad, and it gives a very clear picture, you can even see boats anchored there. Looks really shallow, but so pretty. The pictures are great...look at those lobsters! Wow!
Dry Tortugas Visit
Dick and Nancy
03/29/2012, Marathon

Day 1 & 2
After spending a long time on a mooring buoy in Marathon harbor, we finally headed out to visit the Dry Tortugas, about 100 nautical miles west of Marathon. The only way to visit the park is to take your own boat, get a ride on a small float plane, or take a ferry which runs every day. There is limited camping but otherwise all visitors come and go the same day. The ferry makes the trip from Key West in about 2 hours but for us to get there from Marathon it takes two days with a stop over night. We chose to anchor near Boca Grande Key.
On our second day the wind was light and we motor-sailed. We saw large, green sea turtles, dolphins, many sooty terns and several frigate birds. We also caught one fish, a king mackerel about 30 inches long. We cooked up some filets for dinner when we arrived at the anchorage at the park. While anchoring we noticed two very massive fish which we were told were jewfish under our boat. Thousands of sooty terns were nesting at the island nearby and kept up a constant cry, day and night. We understand that there are many, many other species that nest here, and we did see several during our visit.

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